asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the response of industry to the Government grants scheme to aid the replacement or conversion of existing oil-fired boilers to coal firing; and how much money for this purpose has been spent by industry and by Government, respectively.
A total of 83 applications have been received from companies under the scheme to encourage switching to coal firing involving total project costs of over £75 million. Fifty offers have so far been made for grant totalling over £5½ million, of which £76,834 has been paid out. No figures are available on the amount spent by industry. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced major extensions to the scope and coverage of the scheme in his Budget.A wide range of oil and gas fired industrial equipment is now eligible for grant assistance, several service industries are able to apply as well as manufacturing industry and agriculture, and the minimum threshold has been reduced to £15,000 eligible costs.